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Kinkisharyo - February 2011

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Kinkisharyo — ameriTram Unveiled

Rail Transit Online, February 2011

A new 100-percent low-floor streetcar designed exclusively for the North American market by Kinkisharyo International was shown publicly for the first time in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Jan. 20.

An introductory ceremony was held at the Ninth Street station for local officials and transportation leaders from other cities who were given short rides. Now dubbed ameriTRAM, the LFX-300 will undergo extensive testing on the Lynx light rail line before going on a tour of the U.S. "We thank the City of Charlotte and the Charlotte Area Transit System for allowing us to test our prototype here," said Rainer Hombach, vice president and general manager of Kinkisharyo International.

The project was unveiled late last year after Kinkisharyo completed development and engineering tests in Japan. The car is powered by e-Brid, a new technology allowing the use of traditional catenary or lithium-ion batteries that can be recharged when running under wire and by regenerative braking. In battery mode the range is up to five miles (8 km).

Hombach said ameriTRAM offers numerous advantages over conventional streetcars including reduced capital investment, lower operational costs, lower environmental impact, greater aesthetics through the elimination of catenary in sensitive historic areas and enhanced public safety.

"ameriTRAM is not a foreign or outdated design forced to work in North America," said Hombach. "Not only did we engineer ameriTRAM to comply with North American regulations and standards, but we also integrated ideas from transportation officials and riders alike." No price has been announced for production models of the streetcar.


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